March 15, 2011, 5:00 am

Punch Procrastination In The Face

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Career
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procrastination trickWhy be so violent all of a sudden? Because procrastination is probably the most vicious flaw you can have. You will never feel it, never notice that you are procrastinating. And before you know; it’s too late. Procrastination has eaten you alive like a cancer and are now face-to-face with a problem. A problem created by yourself; created by your procrastination.

What is procrastinating?

In one line, procrastination is not taking care of something (mostly because you dislike it) and naively thinking that time will take care of it.

Most people procrastinate when it’s time to:

–          File their taxes

–          Take care of their finances (plan their retirement, set an investment strategy, write their will, etc.)

–          Go to the doctor or the dentist (for a regular check-up)

–          Do admin work (this is my style!)

The problem with procrastination is that you can get into some serious trouble if you let things go. Therefore, this is why some people:

–          lose money on their tax report

–          can’t retire at the age they want

–          get seriously ill or have a toothache

–          get lost in admin paperwork and don’t know where to start to get back on track

How can you stop procrastinating?

Since I am a big procrastinator, I had to find a trick to stop putting things I don’t like on a shelf. My trick is quite simple, easy to use and can be applied to any situation.

My trick is to have a plan

Not any kind of plan, in order to be successful, your plan must:

–          Be in writing (I’ve noticed that you are more accountable when things are written)

–          Be clear (“trying to do it” is not enough, the task must be very specific)

–          Be time bound (nothing is getting done without a time frame!)

As you can see, my plan must follow the SMART method. At the beginning of the month, I have now started to write a detailed plan of what I am going to do for both my business and at work. This is simple and it takes only a few minutes to do.

In the best case scenario, let someone know about your plan. It could be your partner, your spouse, your friend or even a colleague at work. If you let people know, you will become even more accountable. This way, you will feel that you have no other choice but to complete your tasks.

So when I don’t feel like doing anything, I just go back to my plan and look at what needs to be accomplished this week. Since I know that I will have to do it anyways, I just make sure everything gets done by the end of the week. Putting things to the next week is not an option. If it was, it would be part of the Evil Procrastination plan ;-).

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I found that making a list of things to do for the week or day can help me stay on track. If you can put a small “15 min” next to the task, it might help you visualize how long it will actually take. That drives me to try to organize smaller tasks and knock them out so that I don’t fall into the pit of procrastination.

My plan to avoid procrastination is simple too. I put the things I need to do on a list and then work the list. That feeling of accomplishing a task outweighs the other feeling of wanting to put it off. My second method is breaking it down to smaller pieces so it doesn’t look so big. For example, I hate cleaning out the garage. So I do one small task a week.

Putting it in writing is absolutely indispensable especially for a long term goal. If you don’t put it in writing, the chance of achieving that goal drops like a rock.
For short term goals, I just have a todo list.

I like the SMART system as well. The funny thing is that hardcore procrastinators just dread it. I work in the education field, and some teachers just hate it when we institute SMART planning sessions because it’s very easy to hold people accountable this way.

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